Bicycle weight for long brevets

December 25, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

Bicycle weight outside racing is greatly overrated.

I find it interesting that we always seem to have weight discussions about bicycles while hardly anyone brings up the weight of the engine. That’s even though typically the engine weighs 5-10 times more than the bike and its far cheaper to drop a couple of pounds off the engine (by controlling calorific intake) than to lighten the bike (by swapping components for fancier ones).

It’s really no coincidence, though because lighter, more expensive bikes cost more money. That’s good for business. Getting people to obsess only about the weight of the 1/6 of the equation while ignoring the 5/6 where weight loss could be free is very helpful for the bottom line of the bike industry. Cycling magazines would lose advertising dollars if they wrote about weight loss for cyclists instead of lighter wheels and carbon this and titanium that.

Of course a lighter bike is more fun up the hills, but so would be a well-trained self without the spare tire around the hips. How many of us are our ideal weight? Those of us who are above our ideal weight should be thinking about weight loss first, before worrying too much about the weight of their bikes. That’s not to say bike weight doesn’t matter, but it’s a far smaller part than we make it out to be.

I could ride a lighter bike with skinnier tires, a smaller (or no) front rack, etc. Instead I am riding something whose wider tires and Brooks saddle reduce the wear and tear on the rider after 24+ hours on the road, that doesn’t force me to worry about battery life during night rides, etc. Those aspects are more important to me on long distance rides than a slight edge on climbs.

Ride the bike(s) that you’ve got and you’ll see what works for you.

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